When the beautiful natural wines of France mingle with the open barbecue pits of Brazil, wonderful things happen. The chef/owners at Brutos are a couple – French and Brazilian. They tip their hats to Brazilian roots throughout the dishes they create, and it pops up in unexpected and sneaky ways. And everyone likes a little sneak.
We started off with a cloudy natural Prosecco – a beautiful color and the perfect start while menu browsing. Once that bottle was done and we were a few plates in, we started on red with a bottle of Mouressipe Càcous, a grenache/syrah blend from Languedoc.
Now, glass in hand, let us take a journey through the land of Brazil, a place I have never been and therefore cannot properly guide you through in any authoritative way. We were a table of six food lovers, so we did the best and most appropriate thing – my favorite thing to do whenever possible – We ordered nearly the entire menu.
This is a tale of the cassava root. It’s native to South America and is responsible for a little thing you may recall from your childhood: tapioca. It showed up to the start the meal with these beauties.
Deep fried tapioca cubes with sweet guava chili sauce
Whu? Yah, I said the same thing. If you’re anything like me, you grew up eating tapioca pudding, and that’s the only form I’ve never known tapioca to be. So imagine those little tapioca balls mixed up with cheese and deep fried. It was like tater tots with melted cheese in cube shape. Heart eyes emoji. We ordered two more plates of these, for obvious reasons.
Smoked Greek-style Tomatoes (Smoked tomatoes with black olives, feta, and olive oil)
I do love when a restaurant sticks to its theme, throwing even the tomatoes into the path of the flames. Or at least its smoke. This is the whole thing about Brazilian barbecue. Certain part of the grill are hotter than others, and the meats and everything else come out differently depending on whether you have them on direct heat or indirect heat – high sear or low and slow. Brutos kills at this. I don’t know where the tomatoes went to get their smokey essence, except immediately into my mouth.
Caesar butter beans with crumbled bacon powder
Euh, yes. These were simple and delicious. The beans were perfectly cooked and tossed in caesar dressing – crisp tender and cool. You may be tempted to think that’s Bacon Bits on top, but the French would never. That’s fresh bacon powder, son.
Grilled garlic butter bread
The menu actually called this “toasted”, but the grill marks make it clear that this toasting didn’t happen in a toaster. It joined everything else on the grill. The bread? Ten Belles Bread, lovingly doused in garlic butter, charred on the edges, and topped with green onions and chives.
Another highlight was Bruto’s sommelier’s dog, Iago. I know you can’t tell in this photo because of the way he’s laying and making himself look all skinnier and smaller than he actually is, but this dog’s face comes up to your face while seated, and is roughly the size of a Saint Bernard. He also walks around like he owns the place, laying in the middle of the walkway if he pleases, which he does. The sommelier (at the time) no longer works at Brutos because he just opened his own place, Benichat, which is where I’m sure we can find Iago these days.
Duck hearts with white peaches, grilled onions, and brazilian nuts.
(Brazilian nuts = hat tilt to Brazil).
I realize that most people are like: “Ew! Hearts??” But I can assure you that if you just tell yourself that it’s a generic hunk of meat, and try it, you will be so surprised. I freakin’ love duck and chicken hearts, even if that makes me sound like a monster. They were delicious and tender, and the addition of peaches and grilled onions gave a nice sweet and savory contrast.
Grilled cod with fennel, zucchini, and trout roe
The fish was perfectly cooked, and not even the slightest bit dry, which can be tough to pull off when you grill fish.
The next two wines: Partida Creus SM (Spanish) and Le Coste Le Primeur Pour les Filles (Italian).
Ah, the wines.
Beef Tartare with shoe string potatoes.
De. light. I’m getting lengthy here, better keep moving.
Cote de Boeuf
Cote de Boeuf was on the menu, and that directly translates as “Side of Beef”. At 90€, it is not cheap. And so we avoided it the entire night and ordered everything else on the menu, sometimes twice. But then we realized there were fries.
They say it’s for two, but I cannot imagine two people actually being able to take this down.
And yes, I adore having friends who will order a 90€ mammoth cut of beef just to get some fries.
Let me tell you. It was the star of the show.
We all know that Brazilians are known for their meats. (We know that they’re known, but do they know that we know that they’re known?) There’s those Brazilian steak restaurants where waiters walk around with giant skewers of meat and meat and meat. But this. This was where the Brazilian influence really shined. Like a blazing beacon.
Holy smokes (Get it?), this was this one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and I’m from Texas. I’ve had cote de boeuf in Paris at some top restaurants. This was phenomenal. While I recognize that a “best” cannot be named definitively, and that I have not tried every cote de boeuf in Paris, I don’t care. I’m naming it. Award given. Congratulations, Brutos!!
And served on the side, to sprinkle over the beef: Cassava flour. Full circle. We Salt Bae-d that cassava flour all over, and it was a thing of beauty. They’re always changing the menu, but I’d hope that the cote de boeuf remains a staple.
You should go for anything thrown on that grill, that’s the consensus. Beautiful things happening here.